Review Summary: Klowns In Silly Suits make the best album of their silly career. Seriously...
Glory be, PunkItUp was at a local swap meet last weekend and bought this slab of raging vinyl called Dressed To Kill by a bunch of guys in clown make up called KISS. Kings IN Satan's Service? Knights IN Shining Silver? Nah. Klowns In Silly Suits is more like it judging by its cover. But surprise surprise this is one fine rock n roll album. Unlike the undercooked stuff that came before this album and the overcooked stuff that would come later, it seems Kiss were actually onto something with Dressed To Kill. If ever so briefly.
With a stripped down sound and balls to the wall approach the album kicks off with the tough sounding Room Service
, a standard "getting laid on the road" tune, sure. But with some blistering Chuck Berry riffage backing it up and a good melody to boot its simply irresistible. Throw in some tasty lead guitar work by Ace Frehley and strong vocals by singer Paul Stanley and this album is off and running strong. Followed up by the catchy Two Timer
about a two timing gal on the loose that features some nice vocal harmonies and simple yet effective lyrics (we just keep getting reminded she's a "two timer") and we're humming right along.
After the somewhat underwhelming pick up song Ladies In Waiting
the boys get back in the groove with the Peter Criss led Getaway
. In case you don't know Criss is the guy with the kitty face in the band. He of the kitty face and raspy vocals. And he basically covers a lot of rock n roll ground here as he sings of having to leave it all behind and just getaway while the band pummels out some raw and ragged rock n roll riffage behind him . Kiss sounds something like a low budget MC5 on much of Dressed To Kill which is a good thing indeed. And you wonder why they didn't explore this raw and ragged style of rock n roll further down the road rather then the slick pap they ended up doing. But being they're Kiss and the guy in demon make up now has a cheesy reality tv show...i guess we don't have to wonder anymore. Kiss Komics and Kiss Koffins would soon be upon us, but on Dressed To Kill it sounds like its all about the music.
The obvious theme of this album is sex, of course. After all these guys are Dressed To Kill and looking for tail. This may or may not be your cup of misogynistic tea, as the guys seem to love and hate women all at the same time on most of these tracks. Although "love" is sort of off the mark. On songs like the hard rocking Rock Bottom
we find our boys complaining that women "never treat me like they should" while on the aforementioned Room Service
it seems they don't care about women past a blow job on an airplane or a quicky in a hotel elevator. No, they will never win the Mr. Romantic prize on some stupid reality dating show, but they know how to lay down the pipe when they need to and dish out the smackdown on their women when they get kicked to the curb. Silly woman haters. But it made for some great rock music on Dressed To Kill. Even if it sounds like they want to kill the entire female sex on 2/3's of these tracks. Although I must admit on the Phil Spector inspired rocker Anything For My Baby
Paul does say he would "steal, lie, and wheel and deal" for his "baby." So that's something I guess if the woman needs pampers for the kid or booze to get drunk with. How thoughtful.
The sludgy but tuneful She
is another highlight that sounds very much like some sort of dumbed down Black Sabbath tune with a fine piece of arse replacing the evil Satan as our subject matter, and also Love Her All I Can
, another uptempo rocker on an album dominated by them that is actually a nice uplifting tune about being in love and happy about it. This track features great guitar work and an extended bridge that is certain to get you jumping in your seat or jumping on your baby in a dark room on your parents sofa on a Saturday night. But hey, like Kiss, you get it how you can. And this entire album is about two things: getting some arse or hating the one you're getting it from. Or used to get it from. But it doesn't matter in the end because you're gonna have too much fun rocking out! Dude...
The whole thing wraps up with the now all time classic Rock n Roll All Night
, and its all good from start to finish. "I wanna rock n roll all night and party everyday" goes the battle cry, and it's just one big hot, steamy slab of guitar fueled fun. Shake your money maker, get down and dirty, party everyday. And if you don't have this album next time you see it in a dusty bin at your local swap meet pick it up for a buck a two or three. You won't be disappointed. And you'll be able to say you've heard the BEST Kiss album ever made. Which is not an easy thing to say about a band like Kiss. But its true nonetheless.